iPlay America opened here in Freehold on 11/11/11 to the excitement of many. We have been hearing about this for quite a while now – the indoor boardwalk, rides, arcade and, of course, food. A huge plus, to me anyway, is that it is filling up most – and reviving the rest – of a long dormant shopping center. It is also only 10 minutes from my house.
Just before the grand opening I received an email from my daughter’s girl scout troop stating that the girl scout council was having a group event there, offering discounted tickets to all girl scouts and their siblings. For $20 they would get unlimited rides (except laser tag and speedway – 1 ride each on those) and a $5 iPlay card to use in the arcade. So, for $40 I signed my two kids up and the wait began! I found out later that I had to pay a $5 admission fee for myself – not happy about that but I’m sure they have their reasons…
The first thing they all did was Laser Tag (which is normally $12 for two 6-minute sessions). They were to report at 5:45 for a 6:00 session for “briefing” – which was very brief instructions and a lot of standing around waiting. They finally went in around 6:05 and came out about 20 minutes later – I’ll admit I was not watching the clock as I went with a couple of other moms to get a drink (SoBe water for $3.75 in CSG Express). The kids had a great time and came out all sweaty – at least they got a workout! They were all handed a report on their statistics which I thought was pretty cool – showed how many times they got hit, how many hits they got, etc.
Next, my daughter went on Kite Flyer (where you lay down and soar through the air) and Skyscraper (12 kids sit in a row and it goes up, down and around..) with her friend while I took my son over to bumper cars. The girls enjoyed their rides and my son had fun on the bumper cars, which are not the traditional bumper cars at all, they are round with a seat right in the middle. They spin around every once in a while with flashing lights. He had a big grin on his face the whole time – I wanted to go on!
We then met up with the girls and waited on the line for Speedway. The line really was not that long so I didn’t figure it should be that long a wait, but it wasn’t until 20 minutes later that they were actually getting on cars. The problem, as I see it, is they did not have enough 2 passenger cars. If a child is not yet 56″ they need to ride with an adult, so most of the kids in line needed their parents to go with them. This is normally an $8 ride, but at least they do not charge parents to go on with their child. I’m curious as to what the line is like when there are no groups attending with the special “all rides included” package. My kids had fun, but not so much that they’ll be bugging me to go on it again.
We then went back to the bumper cars with the girls and the wait was a little shorter now, as it was already 8 pm. (Mind you, we arrived at 5:30!) After that, the girls went on the Happy Swing and I got my son a water from the machine ($2.50 for an Aquafina), where I noticed that the SoBe drink I had just paid $3.75 for was $3.50 here. I think that when we go back we’ll be well hydrated before we go!
Now they still had their $5 cards burning a hole in their pockets so we went into the arcade. This is my favorite part – I will have to admit I LOVE ARCADES! It’s a great place to just be a kid again. Skee -ball is so much fun and always makes me think of my grandfather, as he is the one who taught me to play many, many years ago! Before playing any games, though, they went into the Soft Play area for about 10 minutes. We then went and played some games, my daughter going off with her girlfriend, my son staying with me. He hit it big on his first swipe of his card in their “Kid Casino”, winning over 200 tickets on that one swipe!
I’m going to be in trouble when I go back with a card of my own because they have the Wizard of Oz game that we love to play down at Point Pleasant. It’s so addicting! They have MUCH better prizes than Jenkinson’s, though, some much more upscale items. The kids each spent some of their points so they could leave with a little toy and are saving the rest for our next visit. So, we will definitely be going back to have fun in their awesome arcade, I’m just glad they got the rides done and out of their system!
*** UPDATED 12/31/11 ********
Well, thanks to Groupon the kids and I went back to iPlay America yesterday. It was Friday, the last day of their winter break, and they were driving me crazy with their fighting, so I figured I’d get us all a couple hours of peace and take them to iPlay. A couple of weeks ago Groupon had an iPlay deal – for $35 you get 2 admissions and two $40 iPlay cards. Usually, if you’re just entering and not purchasing a card iPlay charges a $5 admission fee. Yesterday they had a holiday special – $4.95 for admission and receive a $5 iPlay card. Yea, Mom gets to play too!
I took my card and made my way straight to the Wizard of Oz game. It’s addicting! My son was laughing at me because after he played a game he came over to me and tried to play my game! Beat it kid! This is my turn! Hey, at least I earned them 500 tickets on my 5 bucks! (Unless of course I see something I want…)
I was definitely concerned when we walked in and saw the huge line but it really wasn’t bad at all. The kids were able to play the games they wanted without a wait and my daughter got right on Kite Flyer. I let them get frozen yogurt at Mixx, which was actually very reasonable priced as it goes by weight. Tommy got chocolate with M&Ms and chocolate syrup – $2.09, Anna got vanilla with chocolate syrup – $2.50 – and they were happy, quiet little children! Anna thought it tasted like ice cream, not frozen yogurt, so I tried a bite of hers. Definitely frozen yogurt, and not very good yogurt either, and the chocolate sauce made Hershey’s look like gourmet. Good for me – no temptation there!
Lastly, the kids decided that the play area was worthy using 5 of their iPlay dollars and went in there for a bit. We went to redeem our tickets – Anna chose a bracelet for 50 tickets and Tommy saved all of his for next time. Thanks to Groupon, we’ll be back!